League One Preview: Leaders Burton host Donacaster
18th December 2015

After confirming last weekend they would be top at Christmas, league leaders Burton will celebrate by welcoming mid-table Doncaster to the Pirelli Stadium.

Albion, on 44 points and five clear of second place Coventry, demolished promotion-chasing Gillingham 3-0 last week and will have the added bonus of new manager Nigel Clough taking control of his first game since returning as Brewers manager.

28 October 2014 - Capital One Cup (Fourth Round) - MK Dons v Sheffield United - Nigel Clough, Manager of Sheffield United  - Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Nigel Clough takes charge of Burton for the first time in his second-spell at the club

Rovers are 13 places and 17 points behind their hosts, but are unbeaten in three league matches including two wins. After a dramatic last gasp win against struggling Crewe on Saturday they have distanced themselves away from the drop for the time being, but a single bad result could force them to look over their shoulders.

Coventry lost ground on Burton after a 1-0 loss to Sheffield United, bringing an end to 11 league games unbeaten. Yet to lose at home this season, Tony Mobray’s men will want to keep the pressure on the league leaders.

The Sky Blues have a perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways with a visit from Oldham, who are second from bottom on 19 points. With seven draws from 10 away games, Oldham have only lost once on the road this season, but with a dismal home record could be firmly in the relegation zone come Christmas.

Also on 19 points are Crewe who, thanks to an inferior goal difference, are at the foot of the table. Despite this Alexandra are a mere two points from safety, with four teams within three points of those in the drop, making an escape entirely possible.

Making the trip to Gresty Road are fellow strugglers Fleetwood, who because of goal difference are barely surviving above the bottom-four. On 21, Town have the worst away record in the league with just six points and a bad result means they will definitely be at risk of the drop heading into the festive period.

With back-to-back league wins Walsall moved level with Coventry last Saturday, and after victory in the FA Cup have set up a meeting with their recently departed manager Dean Smith at Brentford.

Now under the management of Sean O’Driscoll, the Saddlers take on Port Vale in the Sunday fixture who are 12th on 30 points, four behind the top-six. With just eight points collected on their travels, manager Rob Page will want a result to maintain their ambitions for the play-offs.

09/08/2008 Championship Football - Derby County v Doncaster Rovers. Doncaster manager Sean O'Driscoll. Photo: Matt Roberts/Offside

Sean O’Driscoll will take charge of Walsall for the first time against Port Vale

Colchester could do without the festive cheer and the busy schedule that comes with it, as with six league defeats on the bounce they have dropped like a stone into the relegation zone.

Caretaker manager Wayne Brown needs to drastically change the U’s fortunes around soon otherwise they could be cut off from those above. With just seven points picked up from their travels, it looks like they could be in trouble.

The Essex side make the trip to face Rochdale this weekend who, after winning just two of their last 11 league matches, will be desperate to kick-start their play-off challenge.

After dropping to fourth, Gillingham are without a league victory in their last two and have been average on the road so far this season. With Christmas looming, the Gills will want to return to winning ways.

They are welcomed by Millwall, who are two places and three points off the top-six. The Lions will need to make an impression against a club highly in the table then them if they want to push for promotion.

Unbeaten in five, Peterborough have jumped into fifth place, 10 points away from Burton, and now make the trip to Blackpool.

Boss Graham Westley won the league’s Manager of the Month award for their brilliant form and as one of the form sides they could challenge anyone. However, they were dealt a big blow earlier this week when Football League Young Player of the Month Jermaine Anderson was ruled out for the season through injury.

Their hosts have recorded back-to-back league wins which has elevated them above the drop. Now a point and two places ahead of Barnsley, who sit 21st, they will need a result against Posh or risk falling back into the drop.

All League One Matches:
Soythend vs Bury (Fri)
Barnsley vs Wigan
Blackpool vs Peterborough
Burton vs Doncaster
Chesterfield vs Bradford
Coventry vs Oldham
Crewe vs Fleetwood
Millwall vs Gillingham
Rochdale vs Colchester
Scunthorpe vs Sheff Utd
Shrewsbury vs Swindon
Walsall vs Port Vale (Sun)

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